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CAB Reviews

A reviews journal covering agriculture, global health, nutrition, natural resources and veterinary science

CAB Review

Current status of coffee genetic resources and implications for conservation.


Coffee genetic resources are being lost at a rapid pace, leading to loss of genetic diversity. Some of the threats contributing to the erosion of coffee genetic diversity include human population pressures, which lead to conversion of land to agriculture, deforestation and land degradation; low coffee prices leading to abandoning of coffee trees in forests and gardens and shifting cultivation to other more remunerative crops; and global climate change. Conservation of coffee germplasm as seeds is not a viable option because of the recalcitrant/intermediate storage behaviour of seeds. Hence, development of a comprehensive conservation strategy for coffee should take into account complementary methods of in situ and ex situ conservations. The development of molecular techniques has expanded the possibilities and tools for genetic analysis for efficient conservation and use of coffee genetic resources. Before it is too late, a thorough evaluation of existing germplasm should be performed based on which a comprehensive conservation strategy can be developed.